Category Archives: Hope Town to Great Guana Cay

Abaco Day 7 – Hope Town to Great Guana Cay

One of the best things about laid-back Great Guana is that it’s a large island with virtually no “must sees” or “must dos.” Barely 150 people permanently inhabit this cay. Yet, six miles of spectacular, wide, untouched beach fringed with palm trees sports a reef just 50 feet offshore. There’s good swimming, snorkeling and beachcombing. Plus a few eateries, some provisioning options, and infamous Nippers Beach Bar.

Great Guana has two side-by-side harbors – Fisher’s Bay and Settlement Harbour. Fisher’s Bay has moorings maintained by Dive Guana. Just inside Settlement Harbour – on the south side protected by a breakwater – is spiffy Orchid Bay Marina www.orchidbay.net ($2.25/foot – cash or credit card)

Orchid Bay Marina is an upscale complex of four buildings, topped by pyramid-shaped roofs, edged with verandas populated with Adirondack-style rockers and picnic tables. 32 slips it in nine feet of water, with 50 and 30 amp power, ice, laundry and showers, a pool, a small clothing shop in the office plus weather service, Wi-Fi, Fax, FedEx and UPS & recycling bins! They also have the best heads in the Abacos each with three private showers with dressing rooms.

The marina can also arrange scuba trips. and rent golf carts ($25 for three hours). The mostly windows Orchid Bay Restaurant & Bar (Tues-Sun 11am-9pm) serves lunch and dinner.

The Great Guana Cay settlement is tiny but the surrounding island has met some developers who just couldn’t resist that beach – and the local residents, not too happy about the incursion and the resulting tourist boom, have been hanging their objections on the potentially negative environmental impact of the development. The biggest issue is over the former cruise ship landing that is now being developed as the Baker’s Bay Club. This has been pretty much resolved, but protest signs still abound and the local committee is now talking to the Bahamian Court of Appeals. In the meantime, Bakers Bay promises six miles of waterfront, an 18-hole golf course and 300 houses – take a drive around to understand the objection.

Guana Harbour Grocery (8am-5:30pm) is good for topping off the larder (especially on “freight days” – Thursdays & Fridays) as is Fig Tree Wines. A favorite, the Arts Café & Bakery is now closed (and for sale for $1.6 million!). A small stand on the main “street” sells fresh produce and hand-made jewelry.

Word has it that the very best conch salad in all of Abaco can be found at a home-based little stand in front of Miss Luv’s Kitchen “Bess on the Island” – which also serves three meals a day “all tings Bahamian.” Alas, it been closed each time we’ve visited, so we are unable to confirm its highly favorable press. And this last time (early Spring ’08), it was closed again – word is that it may re-open summer ’08.

Other food possibilities include Orchid Bay at the marina, Docksiders Grill, formerly called Blue Water Grill (242/365-5137) on Fishers’ Bay serves dinner only (entrees $26-44) and also has a dinghy dock. Grabbers at Sunset Beach near the ferry dock (entrees Lunch $8-16, Dinner $22-38) is a popular, casual spot (242/365-5133)

Dive Guana (242/365-5178) is a full service dive shop, and also organizes snorkel trips and rents bikes, kayaks and paddle boats. Golf carts might be rentable from Donna Sands at Guana Cay Rentals (242/365-5195) on the north side of the village or from Orchid Bay. Virtually everyone responds to a hail on Channel 16.

But the world-famous attraction on Great Guana Nipper’s Beach Bar & Grill…..